WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center


CK Franchising, Inc. v. Registration Private, Domains By Proxy, LLC / Ofelia Seropyan

Case No. D2021-4219

1. The Parties

Complainant is CK Franchising, Inc., United States of America, represented by Areopage, France.

Respondent is Registration Private, Domains By Proxy, LLC / Ofelia Seropyan, United States of America (“United States”).

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <comfortkeeper.org> (the “Domain Name”) is registered with Wild West Domains, LLC (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on December 15, 2021. On December 15, 2021, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. On December 16, 2022, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response disclosing registrant and contact information for the Domain Name which differed from the named Respondent and contact information in the Complaint. The Center sent an email to Complainant on December 16, 2021 providing the registrant and contact information disclosed by the Registrar, and inviting Complainant to submit an amendment to the Complaint. Complainant filed an amended Complaint on December 21, 2021.

The Center verified that the Complaint together with the amended Complaint satisfied the formal requirements of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Policy” or “UDRP”), the Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Rules”), and the WIPO Supplemental Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Supplemental Rules”).

In accordance with the Rules, paragraphs 2 and 4, the Center formally notified Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on December 27, 2021. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was January 16, 2022. Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified Respondent’s default on January 18, 2022.

The Center appointed Robert A. Badgley as the sole panelist in this matter on January 25, 2022. The Panel finds that it was properly constituted. The Panel has submitted the Statement of Acceptance and Declaration of Impartiality and Independence, as required by the Center to ensure compliance with the Rules, paragraph 7.

4. Factual Background

Founded in 1998, Complainant describes itself as “a leading provider of quality in-home senior case.” In 2009, Complainant was acquired by SODEXO, described in the Complaint as “one of the world’s leading food and facilities management services companies and the global leader in the health care and seniors markets.” Complainant asserts that it operates in 13 countries and provides in-home care services to “thousands” of seniors each day.

Complainant points to several media articles that have recognized Complainant’s COMFORT KEEPERS in-home care services as among the highest rated in the United States.

Complainant holds several registered trademarks for COMFORT KEEPERS in various jurisdictions. For instance, Complainant holds United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) Reg. No. 2,366,096, registered on July 11, 2000 in connection with non-medical in-home care for the elderly, including meal preparation and grocery shopping. Complainant also holds European Trademark No. 004210456, registered on January 19, 2006 in connection with similar services.

Complainant operates a commercial website at the domain name <comfortkeepers.com>.

The Domain Name was registered on November 2, 2021. The Domain Name does not resolve to an active website.

According to Complainant, Respondent has no relationship with Complainant, and has not been authorized to use the COMFORT KEEPERS mark in a domain name or otherwise. Complainant asserts that Respondent registered the Domain Name with clear knowledge of Complainant’s mark and with the intent to use the Domain Name for some fraudulent or improper purpose, such as impersonating Complainant vis-à-vis Complainant’s customers for financial gain.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

Complainant contends that it has established all three elements required under the Policy for a transfer of the Domain Name.

B. Respondent

Respondent did not reply to Complainant’s contentions.

6. Discussion and Findings

Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy lists the three elements which Complainant must satisfy with respect to the Domain Name:

(i) the Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which Complainant has rights; and
(ii) Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name; and
(iii) the Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The Panel concludes that Complainant has rights in the famous trademark COMFORT KEEPERS, through registration and use demonstrated in the record. The Panel finds the Domain Name to be confusingly similar to the COMFORT KEEPERS mark. The mark is entirely reproduced in the Domain Name, except for the deletion of the pluralizing “S” at the end. This minor difference does not overcome the fact that the COMFORT KEEPERS mark is clearly recognizable within the Domain Name.

Complainant has established Policy paragraph 4(a)(i).

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

Pursuant to paragraph 4(c) of the Policy, Respondent may establish its rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name, among other circumstances, by showing any of the following elements:

(i) before any notice to you [Respondent] of the dispute, your use of, or demonstrable preparations to use, the Domain Name or a name corresponding to the Domain Name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services; or
(ii) you [Respondent] (as an individual, business, or other organization) have been commonly known by the Domain Name, even if you have acquired no trademark or service mark rights; or
(iii) you [Respondent] are making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the Domain Name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers or to tarnish the trademark or service mark at issue.

The Panel concludes that Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name. Respondent has not come forward to articulate or prove some bona fide reason for registering the Domain Name. It is undisputed that Respondent has no authority from Complainant to register the Domain Name. While the words “comfort” and “keeper” are common words, they are not often used in combination. It appears more likely than not from this undisputed record that Complainant registered the Domain Name for no legitimate purpose, but instead, to derive some ill-gotten gain through impersonating Complainant in some manner.

Complainant has established Policy paragraph 4(a)(ii).

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy provides that the following circumstances, “in particular but without limitation,” are evidence of the registration and use of the Domain Name in “bad faith”:

(i) circumstances indicating that Respondent has registered or has acquired the Domain Name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the Domain Name registration to Complainant who is the owner of the trademark or service mark or to a competitor of that Complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of its documented out of pocket costs directly related to the Domain Name; or
(ii) that Respondent has registered the Domain Name in order to prevent the owner of the trademark or service mark from reflecting the mark in a corresponding domain name, provided that Respondent has engaged in a pattern of such conduct; or
(iii) that Respondent has registered the Domain Name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or
(iv) that by using the Domain Name, Respondent has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to Respondent’s website or other online location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with Complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of Respondent’s website or location or of a product or service on Respondent’s website or location.

The Panel concludes that Respondent has registered and used the Domain Name in bad faith. The Panel incorporates here its discussion above in the “rights or legitimate interests” section. The COMFORT KEEPERS trademark is distinctive and appears to enjoy a measure of consumer recognition, based on the unsolicited media reports naming Complainant’s COMFORT KEEPERS services among the leaders in that area of commerce. Complainant plausibly alleged that Respondent was aware of the COMFORT KEEPERS MARK when registering the Domain Name, and Respondent has not come forward to deny that clear allegation.

Further, although Respondent has not put the Domain Name to any actual use in the brief time since registering the Domain Name, the Panel cannot conceive of any legitimate reason for registering the Domain Name. As Complainant contends, Respondent’s ownership of the Domain Name looms as “an abusive threat hanging over the head of the Complainant” (quoting Conair Corp. v. Pan Pin, Hong Kong Shunda International Co. Limited, WIPO Case No. D2014-1564). On the undisputed record in this case, the Panel agrees. Respondent has registered and is using the Domain Name in bad faith.

Complainant has established Policy paragraph 4(a)(iii).

7. Decision

For the foregoing reasons, in accordance with paragraphs 4(i) of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, the Panel orders that the Domain Name <comfortkeeper.org> be transferred to Complainant.

Robert A. Badgley
Sole Panelist
Date: February 7, 2022